Almost Two-Thirds of Americans Say Social Media Tearing Nation Apart

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The majority of Americans use social media once a day or more, but nearly two-thirds of adults believe social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are tearing the nation apart, according to the latest NBC national poll.

Poll: Social Media Is Dividing the Nation

Despite the ways in which social media can connect people, nearly two-thirds of Americans (64 percent) now believe platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, instead of bringing people together, are at fault for a growing divide among Americans. That number comes from the latest national poll by NBC.

The survey was conducted April 17-20, 2021, and 66 percent of adults admitted they use social media once or more per day, while 33 percent said they do not.

How US Adults View Social Media

The NBC poll offered a snapshot into how Americans use and view social media–and how their attitude has changed over time.

A similar poll taken in 2019 found 57 percent of Americans say social media does much todivide us, while 35 percent said it brings us together. In 2021, 64 percent believe social media divides us, while only 27 percent believe it brings us together. Why the drop in confidence? It might have something to do with the contentious events surrounding the most recent election.

Screen Time During 2020 Increased

Forty-three percent of adults said their screen time has increased during the global lockdown of 2020, with 49 saying and has remained the same, and only 8 percent saying it has declined.

At the same time, the majority of parents (54 percent) said the amount of screen time their children spend each day has increased, while 38 percent say it has stayed the same, and only a mere 4 percent say it has decreased. The rise may be related to schools moving mostly online, since “screen time” includes phones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers–all of which can be used as platforms for learning.

Media Seen as “Enemy of the People”

This sentiment follows a pair of earlier polls conducted last year that blamed the major media outlets as the “enemy of the people.”

A May 2020 poll conducted by Gallup and the Knight Foundation found that 84 percent of Americans believe that “the media” is to blame for the political divide in the United States.

The poll also found that nearly half of Americans (49 percent) believe that there is a “great deal of bias” in what is reported by major media outlets, including 37 percent who believe a “fair amount” of bias is present in most media agencies.

A June 2020 Hill-Harris X poll found that one-third of Americans believed that the media was the “enemy of the people.”